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#1 anthony le grand

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 03:31 AM

Hi all,

Could someone tell me what are the different ways to process a negative and their effects on it?
I mean could you tell me all the different things we can do when processing the negative like deluxe's ACE or CCE with some examples of films who used them? I remember some examples like the way Lubeski used ACE but is there many different process like that one who give different effects on the colours, contrasts etc..?

Thanks a lot,
Anthony
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#2 Dominic Case

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 06:53 AM

Neither ACE nor CCE are negative processes. They are both silver retention processes that are applied to the PRINT, to enhance contrast, enrich blacks and reduce colour saturation. ACE is the adjustable version - you can specify a percentage of silver to be retained, or a density reading (to infra-red) of the silver density.

As far as the negative is concerned, the three main types of process modification are:
  • Bleach bypass/skip bleach: increases contrast, blows out highlights, reduces colour saturation. Works by retaining the silver in the image as well as the colour dyes.
  • Push/pull processing: increasing or decreasing the developing time in order to partially compensate for under or over exposure, or in order to gain the side effects, of slightly increased contrast (for pushing), and increased graininess. Pull processing combined with overexposure is sometimes used to increase colour saturation and minimise graininess - the effects are only slight though.
  • Cross-processing: normally, processing colour reversal stocks in a colour negative process. The result is a negative image, but with increased contrast, and wierdly inaccurate colour and contrast mismatches - typically increased saturation and contrast in some colours more than others.
Im sure others on this list will be able to help you with references to films that have used one or other of these processes. Or you could do a search on this website yourself, I'm sure it won't be hard to collect a few references that way, as bleach bypass in particular is perhaps the single most discussed topic here.
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#3 anthony le grand

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 07:59 AM

Neither ACE nor CCE are negative processes. They are both silver retention processes that are applied to the PRINT, to enhance contrast, enrich blacks and reduce colour saturation. ACE is the adjustable version - you can specify a percentage of silver to be retained, or a density reading (to infra-red) of the silver density.

As far as the negative is concerned, the three main types of process modification are:

  • Bleach bypass/skip bleach: increases contrast, blows out highlights, reduces colour saturation. Works by retaining the silver in the image as well as the colour dyes.
  • Push/pull processing: increasing or decreasing the developing time in order to partially compensate for under or over exposure, or in order to gain the side effects, of slightly increased contrast (for pushing), and increased graininess. Pull processing combined with overexposure is sometimes used to increase colour saturation and minimise graininess - the effects are only slight though.
  • Cross-processing: normally, processing colour reversal stocks in a colour negative process. The result is a negative image, but with increased contrast, and wierdly inaccurate colour and contrast mismatches - typically increased saturation and contrast in some colours more than others.
Im sure others on this list will be able to help you with references to films that have used one or other of these processes. Or you could do a search on this website yourself, I'm sure it won't be hard to collect a few references that way, as bleach bypass in particular is perhaps the single most discussed topic here.



Thanks for that Dominic. I knew about the 3 main processes but I think i didn't understand well an interview of Lubezki (perhaps my english...). He talked in an ASC mag about ACE for the dailies of "A Series of unfortunate events" and I though perhaps it has been done directly during the processing of the negative but that was a stupid idea...
Also he said that ACE increased saturation. Why in this case?

So manifestly my question wasn't the good one... is there different processes like that that can be applied to the PRINT to control the colours, saturation, contrasts..? Are those processes different from the companies who do that?

Thanks for your help
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 12:15 PM

ACE adds black silver into colors (including black) in the print. This has the affect of increasing contrast by making the shadows darker and the colors darker. It's like taking a color paint and mixing in some black paint.

Now personally, I -- and most people -- would say that ACE desaturates colors by doing this, not saturates colors. So either you're misreading Lubezki's quote, or he was misquoted by the magazine, or he feels that the darker blacks give the impression of richer colors... or ACE only looks more saturated in comparison with heavier silver retention processes like CCE and full skip-bleach.

Print processing is very standardized so there isn't much you can do to alter it, other than leave some or all of the silver in, if the lab offers these processes. A full skip-bleach is easier for a lab since it involves, as the name implies, skipping some steps in the ECP processing line, but partial silver retention like ENR or ACE require additional tanks of b&w developers added to the ECP line so few labs offer that.

Your choices are more in choosing the type of print stock in regards to contrast and saturation, though the variations in strength are limited in the choices offered. There are six print stocks on the market (from lowest to highest contrast): Kodak low-con teleprint, Kodak Vision 2383, Fuji 3513-DI, Agfa, Fuji 3525-XD, Kodak Vision Premier 2393.

There was a Fuji print stock slightly lower in contrast than 2383 called 3510, but I think Fuji is getting rid of it.
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#5 Dominic Case

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 05:32 PM

David Mullen says:

Now personally, I -- and most people -- would say that ACE desaturates colors by doing this, not saturates colors. So either you're misreading Lubezki's quote, or he was misquoted by the magazine, or he feels that the darker blacks give the impression of richer colors... or ACE only looks more saturated in comparison with heavier silver retention processes like CCE and full skip-bleach.

This raises some interesting points. The term "saturated" is often used in a less precise way than a colour scientist might want it used. In my way of thinking, "saturation" measures the purity of a colour - in other words, a fully saturated red has no green and no blue in it, just red. Now if you take a pure red area in a normal print, and add silver, then you reduce the amount of red light coming though the print, but you don't add any green or blue - in fact if there is any (as in a less than fully-saturated colour) you reduce those as well. So arguably, a silver retention print is no less saturated than a normal one, although all the colours are subdued. However, by reducing the brightness of a colour, you automatically limit its intensity, though not its purity, so there is an impression and an assumption of less saturation, which is what most of us refer to.

I had a look at the AC article that Anthony Le Grand refers to. In it (AC, Dec 2004) Emmanuuel Lubezki is reported thus:

In addition to the ACE-treated dailies, he sometimes requested an untreated second print. ?I knew our final look would be somewhere between normal and our ACE look, so we also had to know what ?normal? looked like,? he explains. ?The difference was quite striking: the ACE print?s colors are so saturated and the blacks look so rich [that] after you get used to it, it becomes hard to go back to normal.?


S firstly, it seems that he had his dailies printed and processed with ACE, although for the final result they used the DI process to simulate the chemical process (explained elsewhere in the article). And his point of comparison seems to have been a normal print, not a full CCE print.

And secondly, I would have to conclude that if he is quoted accurately, he is describing the subjective impression of greater contast and richer blacks, rather than the usual perception of diminished colours. Although his quote, which seems fairly specific, doens't say exactly that.

Final conclusion - don't rely on everything you read in magazines - even American Cinematographer. Always check with cinematography.com ;)
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#6 anthony le grand

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 07:55 PM

Thanks a lot for that guys! I could not hope for better explanations!
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